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Biodiversity conservation Paper


India ‘s biodiversity encompasses a broad spectrum of home grounds that include tropical rain forests, alpine flora, temperate woods, and coastal wetlands. Traditional societies have paid a great trade of attending to the survey of nature preservation. Although Himalaya histories for 18 % of the entire country in India, it covers more than 31.05 % of India ‘s forest screen and 40 % of the species endemic to the Indian Sub-continent. Many mountain societies therefore maintained a holistic position of the socio-ecological system. An look of this relationship is represented in the signifier of sacred landscape which is a construct identified by many traditional societies and frequently protected by cultural and spiritual values. Many protected countries contain sites of importance to one or more religions. These are of both sacred natural sites and built memorials ( such as monasteries, temples, shrines, and pilgrim’s journey trails ) . Enforcement in these protected countries has created a batch of struggles between the local people and protected country directors, due to the limitations enforced by these directors against the traditional usufruct rights of the local people. These struggles tend to move as major hurdlings to accomplishing biodiversity preservation. Conservation of biological resources through faith and belief has a long history in Garhwal Himalaya. This article aims to document the different moralss enshrined within the Hindu community that have an built-in function in the preservation of biodiversity in Uttarakhand Himalaya.

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Keywords:faith ; belief ; woods, sacred Grovess ; biodiversity preservation ; Garhwal Himalaya


India has a long tradition of wise preservation schemes that are utile to people and society. Biodiversity is the most valuable but least apprehended resource, and it can be a key to the care of the universe ( Wilson, 1992 ) . In India, biodiversity outside protected countries is rich because of close relationships between spiritual, socio-cultural beliefs and preservation. Rapid diminution in biological diversity- species, ecosystems, and familial diverseness – is one of the critical challenges of the twenty-first century. There are many practical grounds for conserving biodiversity, non to advert benefits related to nutrient, medical specialty, and other stuffs every bit good as the environmental services supplied by natural ecosystems. However, the drive force behind biodiversity preservation remains and will chiefly stay ethical. Harmonizing to studies, most people believe that we have an duty to avoid the extinction of species and races and the devastation of ecosystems caused by our ain actions ( WWF, 2005 ) .

A symbiotic relationship exists between biological and cultural diverseness. This relationship is an of import factor for guaranting sustainable human development. Nature provides visible radiation, air, nutrient, and H2O through life procedure of originative reclamation. This consciousness of life in nature as a stipulation for human endurance led to the worship of visible radiation, air, nutrient, and H2O. Indian civilization evolved in the wood, foremost during the Vedic period and later during the times of Buddha and Mahavir. Religious beliefs and rites ( invariable parts of the cultural surroundings ) are really much inter-linked and closely related to the direction of ecosystems. Religion aids the preservation of natural biodiversity in several different ways. The first is by supplying ethical and societal theoretical accounts for populating respectfully with nature. For most civilizations, faith is a primary agencies of judging right and incorrect. Despite certain differences, nature is included in the spiritual codification of morality and etiquette in all faiths. These ethical beliefs and spiritual values act upon our behavior toward others, including our relationship with all animals and works life. Such beliefs and imposts are defined as superstitious notion. Due to these superstitious fortunes, spiritual values that acted as countenances against environmental devastation do non retain a high precedence and go displaced by economic factors.

Forests in India remain cardinal to its civilisational development. In India, ‘Aranya Sanskriti ‘ or a forest civilization evolved during the ancient times as instruction was chiefly given in the wood called “ ashramas ” . These were the topographic points where most of the scientific research and cultural Hagiographas were done. In the Rig Veda, woods are described as Aranyani or mother goddess, who ensures the handiness of nutrient to humankind and takes attention of wildlife. Sacred sites are likely the oldest method of home ground protection on the planet and still organize a big and chiefly unrecognised web of sanctuaries around the universe. Some research workers believe that there may be as many sacred sites as protected countries ( WWF, 2005 ) . However, many of them are threatened due to atomization, habitat debasement, substructure development, disputes over land, and a general deficiency of regard for their intangible value ( Khumbongmayum et al. , 2004 ) . The combined effects of such activities have led to the debasement of countries that have been held sacred by peculiar civilizations for 100s or even 1000s of old ages. Linkss between sacred land ( and H2O ) and preservation are non confined to minority religions, as they exist virtually in all religions around the universe. The mainstream religions, with many 1000000s of followings, have a immense influence on the manner in which we view and interact with the natural universe. This influence is reflected in big portion by determining people ‘s doctrine and moralss. However, this is linked to the ownership of land, investing, and political and societal factor. The pattern of biodiversity preservation is profoundly rooted in scientific discipline along with the associated layman and mercenary world-view. This can present a menace to sacred infinites, if religious, cultural, and spiritual values are non included in the planning phase of preservation direction. Although protecting a sacred site officially or through statute law prevents its traditional usage, it is likely to do a cultural split and outrage by degrading the well preserved sacred nature ( WWF, 2005 ) .

Background of the country

Uttarakhand is divided into two administrative divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon. The Garhwal part extends from 29A°26 ‘ to 30A° 28 ‘ North latitude and 77A°49 ‘ 80A°06 ‘ East longitude. It is situated between the feeders of Ganges- Alaknanda and Mandakini and was designated by Aryans as the heavenly land or “ Dev Bhoomi ” . In fact, Eden ( Swarg ) in those yearss was sought to be identified with the part of Garhwal Himalaya, where the mountains ( like ‘Meru ‘ , ‘Kailash ‘ , ‘Gandhmadan ‘ ) and blessed home ground ( like ‘Kuvela ‘ , ‘Shiva ‘ , and ‘Vishnu ‘ ( Mahabharata ) ) were found. After the ‘Vedic Age ‘ , this piece of land had been known as ‘Brahmarishi Deha ‘ ( Manu:11. 1919 ) , while during the heroic period it was known as ‘Panchala Desha ‘ . Afterward, the part was known as Garhwal which stemmed from two words Garh ( district ) and wal ( the name of the male monarch in that period ) .

The Kumaon part extends from 28° 44 ‘ and 30° 49 ‘ N ( latitude ) and 78° 45 ‘ and 81° 1 ‘ E ( longitude ) . The word Kumaon can be traced back to the fifth century BC. The Kassite Assyrians left their fatherland ‘Kummah ‘ , on the Bankss of river Euphrates and settled in the northern portion of India. These dwellers formed Koliyan folks, as they settled freshly in ‘Kumaon ‘ . Lord Buddha ‘s female parent, Mayabati belonged to this kin. As another version of the beginning, the word Kumaon has been believed to deduce from “ Kurmanchal ” a hill near Champawat which was the old capital of the Chand male monarchs. Kurmanchal was the land of the Kurmavatar ( the tortoise embodiment of Lord Vishnu, the refinisher harmonizing to Hindu mythology ) ( Gajrani, 2004 ) .

The earliest historical mentions to the part are found in the Vedas. The being of the mountains was specifically addressed in the Mahabharata, dated back to about 1000 BC, when the supporters of the heroic poem, the Pandavas, are said to hold ended their life on Earth by go uping the inclines of a extremum in Western Garhwal called Swargarohini – literally, the ‘Ascent to Heaven ‘ .

Physical geography of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is the youngest mountain province of the Republic of India and was carved out of Uttar Pradesh on the 9th of November 2000. It consists of two words “ uttar ” intending north and “ khand ” intending “ portion ” . It occupies 17.3 % of India ‘s entire land country with 53,566 sq. kilometer of which 92.57 % is under hills and 7.43 % under fields. Uttarakhand is located between 770 34 ‘ 27 ” to 810 02 ‘ 22 ” E longitude and 280 53 ‘ 24 ” to 310 27 ‘ 50 ” N latitude ( Figure 1 ) . The province has diverse home grounds runing from the snow bound extremums of the Himalayas with the highest Nanda Devi ( 7,817 m ) to the sub-tropical Terai part. It has a population of about 8.48 million at 158.3 individuals per sq. kilometer ( FSI, 2005 ) . The boundary line of Uttarakhand touches with Nepal in the East and China in the North.

Traditional cognition and Environmental preservation

Traditional societies are characterized by their close interconnectedness with nature and its resources. They depend upon natural resources and biodiversity for their support ( Ramakrishnan, 1996 ) . This bond with nature and natural resources extends beyond the economic kingdom, as societal, cultural and religious dimensions besides play a important function ( Ramakrishnan et al. 1998 ) . Ecosystems sustain themselves in a dynamic balance based on rhythms and fluctuations, which are nonlinear procedures. The subject of traditional ecological cognition is of import in the consideration of a wide scope of inquiries related to nature-human relationships. Different groups of people in assorted parts of the universe perceive and interact with nature otherwise by sharing different traditions of environmental cognition. Their perceptual experiences and cognition are in portion shaped by their values, worldviews, environmental moralss, and faith. In the geographic expedition of environmental moralss and faith to an ecologically sustainable society, autochthonal peoples and traditional ecological cognition have attracted considerable attending from both bookmans and popular motions. As a cognition and pattern belief, traditional ecological cognition includes worldview and spiritual traditions of a society. Every cultural group portions a scope of environmental values and moralss along with their patterns. Environmental dealingss of a group are non unvarying but they are shaped by the daily interactions every bit good as their worldview and moralss.

The Hindus in India accept nature as deity, manifestation of God ; as such, natural elements like workss, animate beings, H2O, Earth and fire all become portion of ceremonials and worship. Traditional cognition can run from what are called “ old married womans ‘ narratives ” to highly complex, formal and statute systems, e.g. , the Indian medical cognition system of Ayurveda ( Nadkarni and Chauhan, 2004 ) . Plant preservation is frequently presented based on scientific contexts of world and truth every bit good as related subjects of single to ecological reclamation. For many visitants, their cardinal religious or spiritual positions frame their beliefs, values, and actions, including all facets of works preservation, instruction, and reclamation. In Garhwal Himalaya, there are communities that are the depositories of huge accretions of traditional cognition and experiences that link humanity with its antediluvian beginnings. The local communities and their wealth of local cognition are seen as “ the heroes of resource preservation, instead than scoundrels of resource depletion as known earlier. ” ( page 9, Agarwal, 1997 ) . Traditional cognition of H2O direction in Uttarakhand was reported by a few writers ( Rawat and Sah, 2009 ; Sharma, 2008 ) The disappearing of these communities is a loss for the society, which otherwise could hold informed us a great trade of their traditional accomplishments ( WCED, 1987 ) .

Traditional cognition and H2O direction

Water is a cherished gift of nature and indispensable for the endurance of all signifiers of life. The usage of H2O has been an built-in portion of human life, every bit old as civilisation itself. The great Harappan civilisation developed in this continent during 2500-1500 BC chiefly because of H2O. Vedic literature ( 800-600 BC ) , particularlyRig-Vedais full with anthem about irrigated land, fluxing rivers, pools, and Wellss ( Agarwal and Narayan, 1997 ) . As an built-in portion of the Indian heritage, the Himalayas of which woods provide vegetive screen for the major river systems in India serve as H2O reservoir and a warehouse of biodiversity ( Rawat, 2000 ) . Uttarakhand is the catchment country of the Indo-Gangetic field and the cradle of the Indo-Gangetic civilisation. Water is revered and regarded as sacred from clip immemorial.

In Garhwal and Kumaon part, small towns have a set of cultivated land, human colony, and forest country ; in the upper catchment of the small towns, they used to hold smaller or bigger H2O thumping constructions such as Tals, Khals, Chals and Rou. About 95 % of the small towns in Uttarakhand have such types of construction in its district or catchment. Their acknowledgment of H2O retaining constructions and H2O buffeting constructions has been built through their tradition. In scientific position, their cognition of smaller H2O recharge constructions ( khals ) or bigger H2O organic structures ( tals ) in higher ranges of the habitation or agricultural land played an of import function in the recharge of springs, rills, and gadheras.

Traditional medical system

The traditional medical systems of northern India ( such as Ayurveda and Tibetan ) are a portion of clip tested civilization ( Kala et al. 2006 ) . Medicative workss have strong credence in spiritual activities of north Indian native communities, who worshiped the workss in the signifier of God, goddesses, and minor divinities ( Silori and Badola, 2000 ; Dhyani, 2000 ) . To call some of them, Origanum vulgare, Saussurea obvallata, Ocimum sanctum, Cedrus deodara, Cynodon dactylon, Aegle marmelos, Juniperus communis, Musa paradissica, Nardostachys grandiflora, Zanthoxylum armatum, Ficus benghalensis, and Ficus religiosa are illustrations of the medicative workss used normally for medicative every bit good as a spiritual intents by the Hindus in northern India ( Kala et al. , 2006 ) . Apart from human usage, many works species were besides used in carnal husbandary as the primary beginning of health care ( Samal et al. 2004, Kala et Al. 2004 ) .

Bhotiyas are an cultural community of Mongoloid beginning. They were traditional trans-border bargainers who traded between India and former Tibet ( now China ) and Nepal until trans-bordering was terminated in 1962 due to Sino-Indian struggle ( Farooquee et al. 2004 ) . Until the 1960s, people shacking in the remote and unaccessible high heights of Himalaya were non exposed to any signifiers of medical intervention. Hence, they were wholly dependent on the Bhotiya system of traditional intervention. The autochthonal Bhotiya intervention chiefly focused on complaints like stomachic jobs, digestive system, dysentery and diarrhea, liver malfunctioning, kidney rock, fever, blood purifier, common cold and cough, tegument diseases, and energy and verve of the organic structure.

Taboos as a agency of works and animate being preservation

Taboos are the unwritten, orally transmitted traditional and societal regulations that regulate human behaviour ( Colding and Folke, 1997 ; Banjo et Al. 2006 ) . In Uttarakhand, there are a figure of workss, animate beings, and lakes that are regarded as sacred in the sense that no felling or development was carried out. As a consequence, it means that different species of trees and animate beings which are economically of import are preserved in such a manner that they will organize a good familial reservoir and service as a usher against extinction of these species. It will be worthwhile to analyze the cognitive foundations of the autochthonal cognition, ethnoecology, and ethnoforestry. Ethno-forestry is the survey of continued pattern of creative activity, preservation, direction, and usage of forest resources, through customary ways in local communities ( Pandey, 1996, 2003 ) . Religious beliefs, tradition, and civilization are the merchandises of logical internalisation of human experience and acquisition. Historically, several faiths have explicitly or implicitly prescribed learning related to responsibility of its followings toward the environment ( Banjo et al. , 2006 ) . This position was substantiated by Anderson as cited by Pandey ( 2003 ) , when he stated that ecological wisdom in tabu, symbols, and cosmologies of traditional societies transmit the cognition of preservation to the younger coevals. It helped them pull off resources good through spiritual or ritual representation. Trees have a really particular function in the ethos of the people in Uttarakhand. Chandrakanth and Romm ( 1991 ) stated that sacred trees symbolize specific arrays of human conditions, possibilities, and expectancy. Speciess of trees are worshipped as ( 1 ) manifestation of Gods, ( 2 ) representatives of peculiar stars and planets, and ( 3 ) symbols of the natural elements ( energy, H2O, land, and air ) each of which has its ain independent and rational significances. There are illustrations where communities regulate the usage of resource by curtailing the entree to resources and implementing conformity through spiritual belief, ritual, and societal convention which in fact aid biodiversity preservation in such community. Trees have long been protected or conserved through spiritual tabu, values, and patterns ( Pandey, 2003 ) . The functions of spiritual and cultural beliefs in protecting trees have been observed by other research workers ( Pandey, 2003 ) . The dependance of rural people on the wood and their involvements in its saving have been institutionalized through assorted societal and cultural mechanism ( such as tabu ) . Despite their evident unreason, spiritual limitation such as tabus may therefore be extremely rational ways of conserving resources: Pandey ( 2003 ) described societal restraints such as tabu which led to autochthonal biological preservation like supplying entire protection to some biological communities, home ground spots, and certain selected species.

The flower of Brahmkamal (Saussurea obvallata) , an alpine species is the most valued as the offerings to Lord Shiva (Shri Kedarnath) and Lord Vishnu (Shri Badrinath) in Garhwal Himalaya. These flowers are non plucked before Nanda Astami ( falls in the last hebdomad of August or the first hebdomad of September ) as the seeds mature at this clip. These people have a impression that if the flowers ofBrahmkamalare plucked before this day of the month, there will be a natural catastrophe. In Indonesia, as in Garhwal Himalaya,Ficus bengalensisis considered to be sacred. Springs are frequently found under banian trees in Indonesia, as they have a belief that holy liquors reside in the trees and guarantee the handiness of clean H2O. Dodital and Devariyatal a two lakes in Uttarkashi and Rudraprayag territory of Uttarakhand – are considered sacred so that fishing is wholly restricted. There is a tabu that if fishing is done in that lake, fisherman will endure from leprosy. Speciess such as sacred fig (Ficus religiosa ) ,mountain king of beasts(Felis concolor) ,and southern pocket goffer (Thomomys umbrinus emotus) areprotected by Hindus ‘ tabu for specific species all across the Indian subcontinent ( Colding and Folke, 2000 ) .

Sacred Groves and Biodiversity Conservation

There has been a close linkage between human existencesand nature preservation since the beginning of runing and garnering societies. The relationship between world and Earth is based on a belief that the planet ‘s biospheric life support system is sacred ( Cairns, 2002 ) . In India, as elsewhere in many parts of the universe, a figure of communities pattern different signifiers of nature worship. Early worlds worshipped nature with fear and exploited its resources sustainably to run into their lower limit needs merely. Every civilization has beliefs which answer in different ways the cardinal inquiry about how and where people originated, and how they should act with their environment ( Elder and Wong, 1994 ) . Forests are the topic of a great trade of myth, fable, and lore. Societies most closely entwined with woods tend to see them in a healthy regard, awe at their luster and stateliness, and sometimes experience awful and fright of the powerful liquors that lurk within them. They have been the line of life for tribal and other forest-dwelling communities.

For preservation of this critical resource, people began to utilize the construct of sacred Grovess. The historical links of frightened Grovess have been traced back to the pre-agricultural, runing and garnering phase of societies, when human society was in a crude province ( Gadgil and Vartak, 1975 ; Khumbongmayum et Al. 2004 ) . The most ancientvedicBibles demonstrate an ecological consciousness and great regard for the natural universe through the congratulations of divinities. There are many specific instructions on environmental affairs throughout the texts, and ecological activitists have drawn much inspiration from those ( Vanucci, 1999 ) . Such constructs have been a portion of rich tradition and diverse civilization in Indian societies through many coevalss. Sacred Groves ( SGs ) and temple woods are one of the oldest signifiers of preservation. These little wood spots with tall trees, lianas, and bushs stand foring the celebrated construction of good maintained woods are scattered amidst the debauched landscapes all over the state. These woods, although little and scattered, portion two common characteristics,i.e., sacredness and religion in a divinity. A sacred wood can hence be described as any wood or flora strand that is considered valuable by local communities and protected by the community for spiritual and religious grounds ( Spencer, 1998 ) . One of such important traditions is the protection of spots of woods dedicated to divinities and/or hereditary liquors. A few illustrations described by Vanucci ( 1999 ) ( as in Ramasubramanian, 2008, Page 5 ) are:

  1. “ Do non cut trees, because they remove pollution ” ( Rig Vedic literature, 6:48:17 ) .
  2. “ Do non upset the sky and do non foul the ambiance ” ( Yajur Vedic literature, 5:43 ) .
  3. Destruction of woods is taken as devastation of the province, and re-afforestation an act of reconstructing the province and progressing its public assistance. Protection of animate beings is considered a sacred responsibility ( Charak sanhita ) .
  4. No animal is superior to any other. Human existences should non be above nature. Let no 1 species encroach over the rights and privileges of other species ( Isha-Upanishads )

Plants ( Oshadhis ) and trees ( Vanaspatis ) are embodied as goddesses and divinities and jointly aroused as jungle goddess or ‘Aranyani ‘ in the Vedas. All faiths and civilizations of the South Asiatic part are ingrained in woods, non out of fright and ignorance but due to the ecological perceptual experience that SGs are the sections of landscape incorporating flora and other signifiers of life and geographical characteristics. These SGs are delimited and protected by human societies under the belief that maintaining them in a comparatively undisturbed province is of import to worlds. A figure of human societies in Asia, Africa, Europe, America, and Australia had long been continuing certain subdivisions of their natural environment as sacred Grovess ( Hughes and Chandran, 1998 ) . The Grovess have evolved under different socio-ecological and cultural state of affairss to offer many ecological, environmental, and socio-cultural maps to the society. During the ancient times, autochthonal people depended on woods and rivers for their day-to-day subsistence and regarded a assortment of natural objects as sacred. The billboard and greedy inclination for over development of the resources ne’er existed in the early adult male ‘s idea.

Largely all the spiritual shrines in Garhwal Himalaya are located beside the meeting of five feeders in the sacred river Ganges. Although biological diverseness of Himalaya is really rich, comparatively small is known about the sacred Grovess of this part. A assortment of natural objects are regarded as sacred by the Hindu community, which include the river Ganges, its feeders and their meeting along with the spiritual shrines ( Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri ) and sacred mountain extremums ( Nanda Devi, Trishul, Chaukhamba, Kailash, Binsar and Shivling ) . Trees are an indispensable portion of life, and their importance described in the heroic poems “ Ramayana ” has left a great impact on world which maintained equilibrium for the subsistence of life until the last century ( i.e. , twentieth century ) . However, increasing population and inclination toward industrialisation brought an instability to this natural equilibrium. The basic elements of naturePrithvi( Earth ) ,Agni( Fire ) ,Jal( Water ) ,Vayu( Air ) , andAkash( Space ) were worshipped in one signifier or another since antediluvian times in the Hindu mythology which as a consequence acquired the protection for religious and spiritual grounds. It was through the worship of trees that human existences attempted to near God ( Sinha, 1979 ) .

Many works species are considered to be sacred in the Himalaya and are used in rites ( Table 1 ) and offerings to Gods such as Ficusbenghalensis,Ficus religiosa, Ocimum sanctum,Cynodon dactylon,Mangifera indica,Astromoniumspp,Azadirachta indica,Sassurea obvallata( Anthwal et al. 2006 ) . Because many works species ( Table 2 ) have medicative value, they are used in ayurvedic medical specialties to bring around complaints ( Anthwal et al. 2006 ) . The sacred animate beings include: tiger, cow, elephant, Inachis io, bullock, cobra, rat, cat, and birds ( like neelkanth, hilas, ababil, and vulture ) . In India, particularly the people shacking in hills have a rich tradition of environmental preservation through their socio-cultural and spiritual interactions. Sacred Grovess in the hills of Garhwal are mentioned in old Hindu scriptures like the Puranas. Malhotra ( 1998 ) in his partial numbering of Grovess in India reported 5,691 sacred Grovess. Around 14,000 sacred Grovess have been reported from all over India, which act as reservoirs of rare zoology and vegetation. Some experts believe that the entire figure of sacred Grovess could be every bit high as 100,000 ( Malhotra et al. 2001 ; Guha, 2000 ) .

The rejection and replacing of those traditional patterns with the coming of modern industrial society changed undoubtedly the ethos from an orientation toward preservation to development of nature. However, certain spiritual tabu and societal patterns are still observed among the hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and even some subdivisions of modern society, which help in preservation. Sacred Grovess are ecologically and genetically of import. They are the residences of rare, endemic, and endangered species of vegetations and zoologies. Besides, they serve the map of continuing familial diverseness of common tree species. The hill community of Garhwal Himalaya regards a assortment of natural objects, i.e. , rivers, lakes, rills, springs, meetings, mountain extremums, workss, animate beings, flowers, and even the full Himalayas as sacred. The Himalayas have been considered the place of LordShivaandVishnu. The typical local belief systems were woven together into a composite cloth by placing many of the liquors with a few cardinal Gods in the Hindu pantheon. Predominant among these wereShivaorIshwara( male phallic worship ) and the female parent goddess ( female birthrate worship ) . A good proportion of local liquors were identified with these two, while others were associated with them. Therefore, elephant worship became the worship ofGanesa, one of the boies ofShivaandAnapurnas.Shivais besides calledPasupati– Godhead of animals. He rides a male bull,Nandiand around his cervix is an intertwined cobra.The Deodar (Cedrus deodara) has been considered the tree of God and is planted around temples in Garhwal Himalaya.

Many landscapes ( Chiplakedar, Tarkeshwar, Haryali, Binsar, Kuinkaleshwar, Tapovan, Thal ke Dhar, Nagdev, Kalimath, Goldev, Maywati, Kot, Syahi Devi, Chandrabadni, Paabo, Dewal and Chapdon ) represent rich biological diverseness and complex ecosystems in Garhwal Himalaya. These landscapes have been considered sacred due to association with a divinity and are conserved in pristine status by prohibiting the development of any resource from these landscapes ( Table 3 ) . This scheme is correspondent to the present twenty-four hours ‘s construct of biodiversity preservation through protection of sanctuaries, national Parkss, and biosphere militias. A brief description of some of the sacred Grovess located in the Garhwal Himalaya are listed below:

1. The Haryali sacred grove is located at an height of 2,850 m above mean sea degree in the Rudraprayag territory of Garhwal Himalaya. Fetching of fresh fish and fuelwood and the motion of adult females andSudras( scheduled castes ) have been purely prohibited in this grove since the Epic period ( Mahabharata period ) . A temple of Goddess Hariyali Devi is located in this forest spot.

2. Devban sacred grove is located 16 kilometers off from Chakrata at an height of 2896 m above average sea degree in the Dehradun territory of Garhwal Himalaya. It is surrounded by dense woods.

3. The Binsar sacred grove is located at a distance of 20 km North of Thalisain ( Pauri Garhwal ) at an height of 2,567 m above mean sea degree. A close linkage between cultural properties and forest preservation has been clearly seeable here since the station Vedic period.

4. Surkanda Devi sacred grove is situated at an lift of 3030 m above average sea degree. The temple is situated on the top of a mountain and is of great spiritual significance. A just is held every twelvemonth on Ganga Dussehra during May-June.

5. Tapkeshwar sacred grove is situated on the bank of a rill in the Dehradun territory and is an ancient topographic point of worship. It is named Tapkeshwar as H2O droplets, arising from a stone, autumn on the shivling placed in the shrine. It is devoted to Lord Shiva.

6. Sahastradhara literally intending “ the 1000 fold spring ” is situated at a distance of 11 kilometers from Dehradun. The Baldi River and caves provide a breathtaking position. There is a sulphur spring in which people bathe in the belief that bathing in the spring cures skin infections.

7. Chandrabani sacred grove ( besides known as Gautam Kund ) is situated 7 kilometers off from Dehradun. Harmonizing to fabulous beliefs, this topographic point was inhabited by Maharishi Gautam, his married woman, and girl Anjani who are widely worshipped by the people. It is believed that Ganga had manifested herself on the topographic point that is popularly known as Gautam Kund.

8. Kedarnath is considered the holiest of Shiva ‘s shrines in the Himalayas. It is likened in the Skanda Purana to Jahnavi ( Ganga ) amongst rivers, the Brahmin amongst work forces, and gold amongst metals. Hindus believe that whoever dies here becomes one with Shiva and that the belongingss of the sacred land are believed to cleanse the most hard-boiled evildoer. The temple bases at the caput of the Mandakini river in the shadow of the Kedarnath extremum. It is dedicated to the worship of Sadasiva, the unseeable signifier of Shiva. The symbolic Phallus, the Jyotirlinga or resplendent lingam, one of the 12 scattered over India, is in the signifier of a natural stone ; it is besides called the Shankaracharyashiva. Beyond the temple stretches, the snowy sweep is known as the mahapanth, the main road of Eden. A short distance off is a precipice known asBhairav-jhanp-Shiva ‘s spring. Until the first one-fourth of the last century, certain fans would perpetrate ritual self-destruction by throwing themselves off the border in the belief that Shiva would thereby allow them instant redemption. Not really far off is the Chorabari Tal, now renamed the Gandhi Sarovar, where the river Mandakini originates.

9. Dhwaj sacred grove is 15 kilometer from Pithoragarh near Totanaula. There is a mountain called Dhwaj situated at an lift of 2134 m above average sea degree. It is an residence of Goddess Jayanti ( or Durga ) and Lord Shiva, atop the hill. Hindu legend states that at this topographic point, Devi killed the devils ‘Chanda and Munda ‘ . Dense forests in the mountain are considered sacred, so it is in an first-class province of conserved biome with a big figure of endemic workss.

10. The Tapovan sacred grove ( 2,744 m above mean sea degree ) is situated 17 kilometers off from Joshimath ( Chamoli territory ) of Garhwal Himalaya. This country has dense forest screen with rich wildlife. The full country of Tapovan is sacredly preserved for its rich biodiversity.

11. Nilkanth Mahadeo is situated at a tallness of 1,675 meters on a hill above Swarg Ashram. It is one of the most august temples of Rishikesh. Hindu mythology says that in the antediluvian times when there was a conflict between Devtas and Ashuras, the ocean was churned for ‘amrit ‘ ( Potion for immortality ) and a pot of toxicant emerged from the ocean. To protect the universe from its evil effects, Godhead Shiva drank that toxicant at a topographic point which is now called Nilkanth Mahadeo. It is 12 kilometer from Rishikesh and is surrounded by dense and peaceable woods.

There are many freshwater organic structures in Garhwal Himalaya which are considered sacred since the immemorial clip. The full Ganges and its feeders ( Bhagirathi, Bhilangana, Alaknanda, Mandakini, Pindar, Nayar, and Dhauliganga ) and their meetings ( Karnaprayag, Vishnuprayag, Rudraprayag, Ganeshprayag and Deoprayag ) have been considered sacred by the people of Garhwal. Entire stretches of Ganges at Rishikesh and Hardwar have been declared as spiritual fish sanctuaries in Garhwal Himalaya. Any sort of fishing in this stretch of river is purely prohibited. Some of the lakes ( Masar tal, Dodital, Deoria tal, and Nachiketa tal ) in Garhwal Himalaya are considered sacred where development of fish has been purely prohibited.

Some of the hotsprings ( Tapta Kund ( Badrinath and Yamunotri ) , Garam Pani and Gauri Kund ) and sulphur springs ( Tapovan, Sahastradhara ) are considered sacred. Madkot, 22 kilometer from Munsiyari, has hot H2O springs that are good for skin complaints and remedy rheumatism and arthritis. Any sort of pollution is non permitted in these H2O organic structures. Some of the wild animate beings, particularly wild caprine animal (Nemorhaedus goul goul) , Cobra (Naja Naja) , Jackal (Canis aureus) and wild birds like Ababil (HirundOdaurica) , Neelkanth (Coracias benghalensis) , and Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus aureus) have been considered sacred in Garhwal Himalaya.

Forest Motions in the Himalayas

Forests in India and the Himalayas are characterized by a huge diverseness of dirt types and climes. The Himalayan part has a assortment of moist and dry temperate woods altering into alpine flora at the highest heights. In India, forests play three major functions, i.e. , economic, endurance, and market. Forest regulates the H2O supply and preserves soil to back up the viability of the critical economic map, therefore lending to the economic development. On the other manus, woods provide the supply of basic domestic demands of fresh fish, fuel, and fertiliser. Therefore, one can lend to the endurance of economic system and eventually the market economic system by supplying wood for developmental demands in industries and commercial intents.

The protection and extension of woods is profoundly rooted in the Indian civilisation, while being apparent from the being of sacred Grovess in the small town woods, springs, and extremums. These patterns are of ecological and economic value. In the ecological sense, endemic and natural flora stabilizes dirt and H2O. Economically, woods provide lumber, fresh fish, fuel, fiber, medical specialties, oils, and dyes. In Ayurveda, more than 2,000 species of workss, both wild and cultivated were used. The function of trees for both endurance and economic well being has created the demand for their preservation and was achieved through the construct of sacredness. In the archeological remains of the Harappan civilization, trees were held in high regard and were worshipped until the 3rd or 4th millenary BC ( Shiva, 1991 ) . Planting trees, either for their fruit or for the proviso of shadiness, has been a pattern in India since antediluvian times. For case, in the Himalayas, people still gather below theFicustrees for village meetings and treatments. The forest Act of 1927 aroused a new response against the denial of traditional rights of local people. During the 1930s, forest motions started against the sole development of the wood for commercial intents by the British and against the transmutation of a common resource into a trade good. This forest motion was successful peculiarly in this part. In the Himalayan part, local populations are largely dependent on the wood for fuel, fresh fish, and lumber. In Tilari small town of Tehri Garhwal in the Himalaya, several villagers were killed, and 100s injured on 30 May 1930 due to their protest against the limited usage of their community woods. The motions were eventually successful in resuscitating their traditional rights to forest merchandises as recognized privileges. This forest Satyagraha was resorted by Dewan Chadhradhar Juyal in the absence of the King of Tehri. The Satyagraha was by and large the protest against the statute law imposed by the British disposal which transformed the critical common resources into reserved resources for gross and net income generation.A Hence, the forest Satyagraha was a response to struggles for the resources which were needed for the endurance of the local people. For successful biodiversity preservation within the complex and altering landscapes of India, one needs to see non merely ecological factors but besides socio-economic issues. The displacement in biodiversity preservation from a protectionist signifier of saving toward one with a sustainable use has focused on the demand for engagement in preservation direction. The society will be responsible for the realisation of preservation ends, if they are involved in reading and execution. To this terminal, deliberative decision-making can be utile when people ‘s supports are influenced by preservation actions ( White et al. 2005 ) .

In India, conflicts over forest resources can be categorized into a figure of stages. Large piece of lands of woods were reserved by the British for commercial development during the first stage ( late 19th and early twentieth centuries ) for military and other demands which led to forest battles and forest motions. The forest policy of the twelvemonth 1952, which promoted the rapid enlargement of wood based industries, led to a large-scale felling of natural woods and their transition to monocultures of commercial species during the 2nd stage. During the 2nd stage ( 1970s-1980s ) , Chandi Prasad Bhatt, an activitist in an NGO named Dasholi Swarajya Seva Sangh ( DGSS ) raised their voices against the authorities along with the people of Mandal small town. In the twelvemonth 1973, the forest section refused to assign a batch of hornbeam trees from which the local people use to do agricultural implements. To their discouragement, the same trees were auctioned to a featuring goods company. The DGSS along with the people of Mandal small town in the propinquity of the disputed wood threatened to embrace the trees alternatively of leting the lumbermans in. Another illustration of actions against commercial forestry is that the successful Chipko motion was initiated in Chamoli territory in Garhwal Himalaya by an illiterate adult female named Gaura Devi, as she protested against the tree film editing. She believed that trees are God, as they are needed for endurance ( eg. , fuel and fresh fish ) . The 3rd stage was brought in by the barren development plans ( in 1980s ) . Plantations were done by the industries on agricultural and village lands due to a deficiency of natural stuffs for wood-based industry which so gave rise to struggles during the 1880ss ( Shiva, 1991 ) . The present clip is the 4th stage, as we are looking for energy replacements or biofuel to replace crude oil merchandises. These energy replacement plans will be supported by major investings in forestry that will take to forest struggles in the whole state. Doon vale in Garhwal Himalaya shows an illustration of how the colonial wood policy replaced traditional direction systems of forest usage for basic demands with the debut of commercial forestry.

Status and Importance of sacred grovesA

Sacred Grovess are a good illustration of ethno-environmental direction. Our ascendants were cognizant that the natural resources which sustained them should be conserved. However, today ‘s fast growing of infra-structural installations and on-farm activities has caused the impairment of the Grovess. Many valuable tree species for lumber have been exploited therefore replacing oak woods with pine woods. This alteration has left considerable ecological harm. As the dirt becomes more acidic, it can impact alimentary cycling and dirt birthrate to a grade. Sacred Grovess are the victims of touristry industry every bit good, as it is deteriorating the religion in divinities and Grovess. Such sacredly protected countries provide a comprehensive and rich ecological niche as depositories of familial diverseness. Furthermore, it is felt that there are enormous sum of force per unit area both straight and indirectly on these Grovess which are therefore endangering their being. These menaces can be related to increasing chances of touristry ( with the deficiency of an in-built preservation attempt ) , higher demands for NTFPs, fuel wood aggregation, and lessening in the spiritual religions along with the decreased committedness of the present coevals toward such natural sacred topographic points. Last, one may see the heavy load of developmental intercessions that little provinces like Uttarakhand are prepared to set about. The Grovess located near the colonies are vanishing at a faster rate. Merely a few sacred Grovess are still under their pristine conditions and these include Hariyali, Tapovan, Binsar, and Tarkeshwar in Garhwal Himalaya. Other Grovess are vanishing, as the woods are being cleared and utilized for the building and repairing of divinity houses. Most temple Grovess are seen to vanish due to inevitable factors ( e.g. , carnal graze and human intervention ) .

A More attendings have been paid toward sacred Grovess for their possible as a tool and theoretical account for biodiversity preservation due to high preservation and biodiversity values held in these Grovess. In its 1996 sacred sites- Cultural Integrity, Biological Diversity ( 1996 ) , UNESCO recognized that ( as in Maniyath, 2006 ) :

Sacred Grovess have served as of import reservoirsofbiodiversity, continuing alone species of workss, insects and animate beings. Sacred and forbidden associations attached to peculiar species of trees, forest Grovess, mountains, rivers, caves and temple sites should therefore continue to play an of import function in the protection of peculiar ecosystems by local people. Particular works species are frequently used by traditional therapists and priests who have a strong involvement in the saving of such sites and ecosystems. In some parts of the universe, beliefs that liquors inhabit relict countries have served to rapidly renew abandoned swidden secret plans into mature forest. In other countries, sacred topographic points play a major portion in safeguarding critical sites in the hydrological rhythm of watershed countries. Furthermore, in a figure of cases,sacred sites have besides been instrumental in continuing the ecological unity of full landscapes. For these grounds, sacred sites can assist in measuring the possible natural flora of debauched ecosystems or ecosystems modified by worlds ” .

The sacred Grovess are topographic points that symbolize the dynamic societal forces linked with entree and control over resources. They have a great heritage of diverse cistron pools for many forest species with socio-religious fond regard and medicative values. Sacred Grovess are ecologically and genetically really of import, as they are the residence of rare, endemic, and endangered species of vegetations and zoologies.Quercusspp ( Oak ) is adored and is used for many intents. It is an of import fresh fish and fuelwood species, while being an of import constituent of the mountain forest ecosystem. It improves dirt birthrate through efficient alimentary cycling. It conserves soil wet through humus build up and partially through a deeply placed root system which has a root biomass distributed uniformly throughout the dirt profile. Sacred Grovess are of huge value, as they are good beginnings of non-wood wood merchandises, fatso oils, and many other species ( like Piper nigrum, cinnamon and Myristica fragrans, and medicative workss ) . The faunal wealth of sacred Grovess is besides rich. Sacred Grovess should be considered in future surveies, as they play an of import function in H2O preservation and ordinance of microclimate in the cragged countries of Uttarakhand Himalaya.


Sacred Grovess serve as tools that permit the direction of biotic resources through people ‘s engagement. Knowledge and consciousness about sacred Grovess is really of import for developing new schemes for rehabilitation and Restoration of debauched landscapes. This should affect local people and supply preparation for the publicity of traditional and societal norms. There is an pressing demand for preservation, Restoration and proper direction of bing Grovess. Traditional attacks for nature preservation include a figure of prescriptions and prohibitions for the sustainable usage of resources. These forest landscapes need proper preservation, direction and protection. To protect them from farther debasement, preservation schemes must be employed. Increase in developmental activities and substructure installations in Garhwal Himalaya are deteriorating the proper operation of sacred groves.A It therefore reflects that these Grovess can no longer be of import contrary to what they used to be in the yesteryear.

Today, preservation and keeping ecological balance has become the chief challenge for the people. Forests in the cragged countries are confronting huge anthropogenetic force per unit area ( discerping for fuel wood and fresh fish, graze, illegal harvest home for lumber, forest fires, etc ) for subsistence life. Degradation of woods in many topographic points has reached a phase where recovery is hard. In a state where woods sustain the support of 500 million people, pull offing woods is important, peculiarly in the Himalayan part. In such state of affairss lessons can be learnt, and schemes can germinate from common people wisdom to assist conserve nature. The autochthonal pattern of biodiversity preservation should be nurtured in sacred Grovess. As this pattern involves local peoples ‘ engagement, the SG will be a large measure toward biodiversity preservation. This is because any preservation scheme is worthless without affecting local people. Small attending or apathy of decision makers toward the deteriorating status of holy topographic points and the Grovess may add another dimension. These imposts and traditions should be emphasized through the intercession of authorities by sharing its function with the local communities in determination making.A

The sacred Grovess in Garhwal Himalaya clearly reflect the close linkages between the cultural properties of the Garhwal community and its preservation. As small towns form the anchor of Uttarakhand, preservation scheme must underlie the spiritual and economic venue of the small town, represented by the sacred grove. The workss in the sacred Grovess have really high intrinsic value and are frequently considered Godhead. There is an pressing demand of people with sufficient love for ecosystems and sound cognition of civilization and tradition to protect nature from the inordinate greed of world. There is a demand for rejuvenating ancient ethos that the planet ‘s biospheric life support system is sacred and that it should be protected for sustainability. The mission of these frightened Grovess is to carry people to alter their behaviour in the spirit of a co-evolutionary relationship with nature. Religion and belief should be respected before declaring them abominable, as they have an of import function toward the preservation of the natural resources that sustain the biospheric life support system.


The writers are grateful to Dr. B.P. Nautiyal, Tara Joy and Stella Joy for their aid in garnering information from the local people. The corresponding writer acknowledges the partial support from the National Research Foundation of Korea ( NRF ) grant funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST ) ( No. 2009-0093848 ) .


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